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Roger L.S. Griffiths

A Terran Adventure (Part 4a) - Salvage

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With my second crystal plex set up near Menelaus' Paradise, I decide to recruit a sector patrol. Given the remoteness of the location I decided to complement my usual Patrol team of a Yokahama and two Katana escorts, with an additional two Terran Katana escorts. Currently, they have been told to patrol the sector with my complex in and keep a low profile, but I may in the near future broaden (or move) their patrol route to Menelaus' Paradise.

After doing some further prospecting, I note a few good candidate sectors for building crystal complexes like the one near Menelaus' Paradise but my cash reserves are quite low at the moment. Thus I decide to do a little exploring.

Ever since I helped the Goners establish their new temple in Elysium of Light I have heard rumours of a large Goner vessel that was lost in deep space after an apparent maelfunction of it's jump drive. The research of this maelfunction led to the development of the Unfocused Jump Drive system which the Goners granted me the rights to use for personal exploration.

Heading over to my Eastern Equipment Dock in the Unknown Sector between Montalaar and New Income, I load up my Springblossom (Spirit Eater) ready for a salvage mission.

Undocking from the Equipment Dock I check my systems are green and move to a safe distance from the main space lane and initiate the unfocused jump drive, and the ship's computer starts the countdown.

Previous jumps have normally been to get out of harms way, recharge my shields, repair the hull, and jump back for more combat during various patrol missions. However, this is the first time I decided to use the system for exploration with the hope of a rather unique salvage.

As the computer finnishes the countdown, I notice the usual bright white light of the jump event forming around the ship and wonder where it will take me this time... Some of my previous jumps have dumped me in sectors swarming with either Kha'ak or Xenon, neither would be desirable for this mission but if I have a choice the Xenon are an enemy I can handle.

As the white light of the jump event fades, I see my surrounds morph into a new sector. Examining my Gravidar I note that it is a Kha'ak sector, and lots of them! Somthing like 3 Destroyers, a Carrier, fighters of various types, plus a few of those dreaded Corvettes. Pushing my engines to 100%, and pointing away from the Kha'ak, I charge the jump drive for my return trip and hopefully before they notice me.

Too late... the computer chimes in with warnings of multiple incoming missiles, luckily none of the Kha'ak missiles that are a threat to me are fast enough to catch up with the Springblossom, and anyway I had set my turrets to missile defence anticipating a situation like this. I hearmy rear turret fire a burst of SSC fire just as my ship starts to jump...

Back in the sector I started from, I survey my ship and notice that I sustained no damage and even my shields were at 100%. Taking a deep breath, I initiate the unfocused jump drive again and cross my fingers....

Several jumps later, I appear in a sector with a small Xenon contingent and one of their stations. On the Gravidar, nothing was showing as a major threat, so I perform the visual sweep that I have executed in previous sectors. To my delight, I spot the sillouette of the Goner ship.

Noting the Xenon presence, and it's relative location to the ship I decide to dispatch with the minor annoyance... a couple of Ks, a P, and a handful of fighters... as I am not interested in staying here for long I elect to leave their station intact and untouched (possibly a bad mistake on my part)....

Knowing that the greatest threat to my salvage attempts are probably the Ks and the P, I procede to eliminate them in that order... The K's evapourated with the help of a few Spectre missiles that I had procured from the USC stores, at a reasonable price too. The P and the fighters did not pose much of a problem, but they did put up a good fight (the Xenon programming must be improving a little). Checking my Gravidar, I note that only the Xenon station remained, so I headed over to the Goner ship.

Upon reaching near collision distance, I note the absence of something I did not expect... a gravidar signature! I prep my space suit, and head outside to check if the ship is real... after a short walk in space I touch down gently on the hull of the Goner ship, it is real... pressing my helmet gently against the hull of the ship I knock on the hull and hope for some sign of life (perhaps one of the Goners had managed to survive).

To both my dismay (at the loss of life) and my delight (at finding such a valuable asset), I note the absence of any signs of life. Not being able to target the ship is going to make this a tricky salvage operation, but undaunted by the task I decide to try and enter the ship using my repair laser to cut open one of the weakened airlock hatches. All of a sudden I see red lights illuminate on the ship, and feel some gentle vibrations coming from within... it seems that I have activated some automated defences...

Returning to the springblossom, I brief my team of Terran marines on their mission, and instruct them to board the ship and claim it for me. As an incentive, I promise them a tank of spacefuel each and as much space weed as they can smoke if they are successful in their mission.

Just as the marines, reach the hull of the ship and start to gain entry I not a new Xenon contingent jump into the sector and approach my position (probably called in by the Xenon station). Not wanting to leave my team of marines behind, I decide to play tag with the nearest and biggest of the approaching ships... a Xenon J.

As my team of marines, report successful entry I reach the J and start to fly close shave manouvers around the J, causing the turrets to try and shoot me. However, due to my proximity to the J, and the speed and precision of my flying the turrets never manage to get a lock.

With the J and it's comrades distracted by my interference tactic, I monitor the progress of my marines as they battle their way through the automated defences of the ship. After what seemed like an age of manouvers the team report a successful capture and that the docking bays are ready to receive me when I am ready. They also report that the captain's log identifies the ship as the Goner Aran, formally known as the Goner Mobile Shipyard.

Noting that the Xenon are ignoring the Aran, possibly due to it's unusual lack of a Gravidar signature, I turn my attention to dispatching the J and it's comrades. Going weapons hot and changing my rear turret to an aggressive posture, I procede to engage the J which I had been running circles round.

Almost at the instant the J exploded, I note the tell tail of five Jump events about 20km away from me.... a group of Ks... the Xenon were getting serious now.... not wanting to risk my prize and knowing that I did not carry enough ammo to deal with a potentially unlimited number of Xenon ships I decide to change tactics and force the Xenon to chase me.

The plan was simple, out run them leading them away from the Aran and them head back to the ship, once they were far enough away from the Aran, and hope that I can dock before they can catch up.

Noting that I also had my nominal supply of 11 Advanced Satellites I decide to drop a few of them in the hope that they would slow them down a bit... dropping the first one with them about 20km in my dust, I bank left slightly and head another 24km before dropping a second, at which point I banked left again and repeated the procedure...

After dropping 5 of the Satellites and getting a report of one of the satellites being attacked I check my gravidar for their positions. To my surprise, the Xenon fleet was spread out and not attacking much of anything. It seems that the circle of advanced Satellites I had managed to position around the Xenon fleet has confused them enough that they did not know what to target!!!

Taking full advantage of the situation, I head straight back to the Aran and begin the docking procedure... just as I begin final approach the Ship computer pipes in warning of an enemy breaching my notional safe perimiter of ~15km.... a Xenon K... not wanting to abandon my docking procedure I drop another Advanced Satellite and pray that the docking procedure completes before the approaching K gets within firing range.

Just as my springblossom reached the halfway point of the docking procedure, the ship computer chimes in with an incoming missile warning... damn, the K must be packing... keeping my fingers crossed I note the shortening beeps of the missile warning just as I complete the docking procedure and get teleported to the bridge of the Aran.

Expecting the worse, I order general quarters and instruct my marines to prepare for an impact... To my surprise and relief the missile did not explode, or at least did not hit the Aran. Checking the gravidar, the Xenon K had also stopped it's approach. Confused and relieved, I quickly proceded to transfer the Jump Drive from my Springblossom to the Aran. Luckily for me, the main vital systems appeared to be unaffected and still operational so the Jump Drive was installed without incident. Not wanting to push my luck, I instructed the Aran's ship computer to jump us back to the co-ordinates stored on-board my springblossom's computer.
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